這些日子, 由於參加了維州Warrandyte選區的補選,每天一早都站在票站向提早投票的人派發投票指示咭。這是候選人與區內選民直接接觸的重要機會, 因為我要爭取到選區內選民手中的一票, 才能當選。明顯地, 選民要進行投票的時間和地點,並不是適合討論對社區關切事務的時候, 因為選民要在當時就作出選擇, 要投票給哪一位候選人,而候選人也要同時面向不同的人爭取選票,根本沒有時間細談。
不過, 在派發這些指示咭時, 我不斷地想。在澳洲這一個民主的國家, 到底選民選擇把手上的一票, 在選舉中選出議員代表自己, 到底有甚麼意義呢?
很多中國來的朋友認為民主選舉未必能選出最好的人進入議會, 因而否定民主政治的價值。作為一名參選者, 我感受到不管自己對社會管治有甚麼更好的想法, 都要取得國民的認同和肯定, 才可以在政府議事架構中提出並推行, 是表示國民比管治者更為重要。民主選舉政制就是讓人民選出自己的代表, 並且在一定時間內要再次確定, 這些代表才能繼續執政, 它能保障政府會為國民爭取最大的利益。
國民要是有一天不同意執政政府的想法, 就可以用手上的選票, 把政府和平地解除職務, 避免了誰有警察或軍人等武裝部隊, 就可以壓制國民的選擇, 也可以避免競爭者使用武力來推翻自己, 這就是民主社會最大的優勢。
人民不用一定要同意或支持政府的政策, 更沒有人要求人民要愛護政府或是愛護政黨。反而人民可以有自由去愛自己的國家而不愛執政黨, 這正是民主社會與極權社會最大的不同。
直到我參與了競選, 尋求選民給予我參與議會議政的機會,我才更深體驗當選者要向選民負責任的想法。這些都是我們這些自小在香港, 或是在中國成長的一群, 所無法體會到的經驗。
因此, 既然我們已經來到澳洲, 成為澳洲人, 請讓我們一起珍惜這一個制度, 用手中的一票, 選出眾人認為最好的代表, 來代表自己。
Politicians’ responsibility to the voters
As a candidate these days I have been hanging around voting centres greeting early voters coming for the Warrandyte By-election. This is an important opportunity for me to meet them in person and to ask for their votes. Obviously, the location and timing may not be appropriate for me to discuss with them on their community concerns as it would be too rushed to do it just before they are to complete the voting on spot.
But as when I handed out the voting preference cards, I was wondering what could be the real meaning for them to vote for their parliamentary representative in this democratic society.
Some people may doubt democracy as not the best candidate could be elected at the end. As a candidate I know irrespective of my good thinking on governance I must gain public support before I could sell my idea in the government system, hence the opinions of the electorate must come first before those governing. Democracy allows the people to choose their representatives and give them the mandates to rule in the interest of the people .
In the event the people are not happy with the rulers then they could again vote them out peacefully without confrontation with the people or among the oppositions by forceful means. This is the merit of democracy.
The people is not obliged to go with the politicians’ ideas and they won’t be forced to support any particular government or political party. They can love their nation without necessarily the party in power. This is the main difference between democratic and totalitarian government.
Until I joined this election in fighting for a parlimentary seat I fully appreciate my responsibility to the voters; this is what those grown up in Hong Kong and China may not have truly experienced.
Let’s be grateful to have this democratic system here in Australia and make the best use of the voting power in our hands.
Mr. Raymond Chow, Publisher